One week after the grisly discovery of Esti Weinstein’s body near an Ashdod beach, a formerly haredi woman estranged from her children made an emotional appeal reminiscent of Weinstein’s own pleas prior to her tragic death.
Aviva David, a 36-year old divorcee and mother of six, went public with her own story after Weinstein was found dead in an apparent suicide, warning that she suffers from a similar plight – and could have the same fate.
“What if you had the chance to intervene in the case of Esti Weinstein before it turned into a tragedy? Now there is such an opportunity – in my case.”
Since her divorce, David claims, her husband has barred most of the children from seeing her, and continuously defames her in an effort to discourage them from ever renewing contact.
“They’re told that I commit [all sorts] of indecent acts, that I’m living with non-Jews, that I am the one who abandoned [them], and that if they contact me, God will stop protecting them,” said David.
David says that she is able to see her two oldest sons, but only “five minutes a week”. As for her other four children, David claims her husband bars any contact whatsoever.
“Night after night, six children, the youngest of whom is six years old, go to sleep without their mother’s kiss goodnight. Every morning they go to school without a warm hug from mommy.”
The religious court charged with adjudicating the divorce, claims David, sided with her husband, and state welfare services, which are empowered to intervene in such cases, have responded passively.
“Where is the [child] welfare agency, which is supposed to be the responsible adult [in these cases] and is supposed to intervene when children are suffering, which, when it wants to, can overturn everything?”